Thursday, November 2, 2017

Firefox Is The Latest Browser To Support Progressive Web Apps

It’s been a long time coming for Firefox, but they’ve finally done it: Mozilla’s Firefox browser now fully supports Progressive Web App functionality! The announcement that the Mozilla dev team was working on implementing service workers in Firefox came at last year’s Chrome Dev Summit, where Mozilla software engineer Ben Kelly detailed what was in the works behind the scenes. Now, Mozilla has added new behind-the-scenes tech that will further allow Firefox users to have the rich user experience that comes with PWAs.

A Quick Recap
The Mozilla team began efforts to support service workers (the powerful tech requirement behind PWAs that allows for browser caching, speedier load times, etc.) in early 2014. After nearly two years of development, Mozilla finally launched service worker and push capabilities in 2016’s Firefox 44. The only thing missing to complete the technical trifecta that makes a PWA a PWA was the Web Application Manifest, which allows for “Add to Home Screen” functionality…that is, until last week.

And Then Came The Web App Manifest
Mozilla’s Marcos Caceres announced last week that Firefox 58 for Android will include Web Application Manifest support, making it possible for users to seamlessly add web-based mobile experiences to their homescreen for easy access (Check out this video to see the powerful tech in action). It’s exciting to know that web giants like Mozilla are catching on to the power of PWAs, since it’s proven that PWAs provide a frictionless experience that yields astronomically higher engagement rates compared to native mobile experiences.

I know we here at Lumavate can’t help but feel like we’re on the verge of something exciting in mobile tech, with PWA-centric efforts making their way to the top of many big brands’ to-do lists. Combine the technical know-how with consumers’ need for sleeker, faster, frictionless mobile experiences and we’ve got a mobile revolution on our hands. I think Mozilla’s Andreas Bovens sums up the sweet spot of technology and timing nicely:

“Progressive Web Apps (PWA) [is] an umbrella term for a new set of standardized browser technologies that combine the low-friction nature of the web with the reliability and capabilities we typically associate with native apps. PWAs are gaining ground, with more and more top online services sharing their success stories, and with browser support increasing.”